Amanda Peet is appearing this month on the big screen as an FBI agent alongside David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson in The X Files: I Want to Believe. Amanda is a first-time mom to her 18-month-old daughter, Frances (a.k.a. Frankie), and while promoting her new movie, she finds herself talking mostly about her daughter. In the new edition of Cookie, Amanda openly talks about a range of motherhood issues, from her favorite toy for her daugher, to her passion for raising awareness about vaccinations, to her surprises about motherhood.
On Twilight Turtle, her favorite bedtime toy for Frankie: “I read about that turtle and totally had to have it. So I Googled it. Here I was reading about all the suckers, and I was a sucker! I was caught red-handed!” She added, “I’m the target market for the onslaught of baby products: this sling, that sling, Baby Einstein, the idea that your baby will be smarter if she uses these learning toys at this milestone.”
On one of today’s most pressing public-health issues, infant vaccinations: “As soon as I was pregnant, the neuroses kicked in,” said Amanda, 36, who is married to screenwriter David Benioff. She said that she was calling her older sister’s husband, a Philadelphia pediatrician, “every five minutes” with all kinds of questions, especially about immunizations. “I asked him, ‘Why are all of these necessary? Why are some people staggering them?’?” She was eventually connected with the chief of infectious diseases at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. “Once we had spoken, I was shocked at the amount of misinformation floating around, particularly in Hollywood,” said Peet, who is all too aware of the controversies surrounding the topic, including the unproven link between certain vaccines and autism; the safety of preservatives like mercury-based thimerosal; and the fear that the relatively high number of shots children receive today can overwhelm young immune systems. She said that Frankie is up-to-date on her vaccines (with no staggering), and that she will soon appear in a public-service announcements for Every Child by Two, urging all parents to vaccinate their children.
On what she will NOT give to Frankie and how she really feels about parents who don’t vaccinate their children: “I buy 99 percent organic food for Frankie, and I don’t like to give her medicine or put sunscreen on her. But now that I’ve done my research, vaccines do not concern me.” She says that her concern is the growing number of unvaccinated children who are benefiting from the “shield” created by the inoculated. As such, we are protected from viruses only if everyone, or most everyone, is immunized: “Frankly, I feel that parents who don’t vaccinate their children are parasites.” When questioned about the severity of this last statement, she said, “I have a side that’s practical and into statistical evidence. I’m not a casual person.”
On using a stuffed cow as transitional object to help Frankie with all the traveling her job requires: “I was like, You’ll love this cow, damn it! This will be your transitional object if it’s the last thing I do! I thought I had to trick her into thinking she was home.” However, Amanda discovered that all Frankie really needs to make her feel at home is her mom.
On what has surprised her most about motherhood: “One surprise of motherhood for me was how little control I have. I thought it would be an extended, blissful romance with me at the helm, cuddling this little creature to life. It’s been bittersweet and humbling to let her lead, and to not try to be perfect myself.”